2 weeks ago
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
We joke about needing our separate spaces, devoted partner and I, but truth be told, this is the first time I've had a separate space. In our previous living configurations, devoted partner has had an office and I've had a carved-out niche in our bedroom. This is just the way it's been. Even in our previous apartment when there was an additional room I could have turned into an office, I chose, instead, to make it the library cum chocolate storage room cum additional appliance room, rather than move a desk in and worry about wall coverings. So this big empty room that faced me in our new house was both exciting and daunting.
The bookshelves were the first inhabitants. They are relics from the first post-collegiate apartment, workhorses that are neither attractive nor ugly. They just are. They serve a purpose and have housed the book collection as it has grown and, more recently, shrunk. Instead of a haphazard shoving of all manner of printed material, they now house the paperback books I would actually choose to read again, or those that may serve some ancillary purpose in the future. The built-ins in our living room have shouldered the responsibility of my hardcover books (and who knew I had so many!). My mantra in this new house has been: less clutter. Since devoted partner and I each have a double doored closet in our bedroom, we each added only one dresser - the symmetry pleases me - and my other dresser went into my office. Which wasn't much of an office, it was the holding room for things that hadn't found a home yet. I set up my computer on the dresser because I didn't have a desk, and tried to ignore the unpacked bits behind me as I checked my email each morning.
And, as related here, the search for a proper desk began.
But it wasn't just a search for a desk.
In my life I have never thought about furniture as being anything more than functional. I love the fantasy of a huge kitchen someday, but if you asked me what it would look like, on the micro level, I couldn't tell you. Decor eludes me. Sure, when I see someone else's well decorated home, I notice (and Antonio and Amy, you guys are popping up in my memory - especially the striped walls and repeated blue accents, respectively), but rarely can I transpose that idea to my own surroundings. If you asked me, I'd probably tell you I like stark and modern, but I don't think that's universally true. The one piece of furniture I know I'd like to own is a chaise, 18th century style - so not really modern. What I do know is that furniture and decor are not things I am hard-wired to consider spending a lot of money on. So the first requirement of the desk was: less than $200. That left me scouring craigslist. In the meantime, I found the two chairs in the picture. I loved them. I don't know what style they are, I only know that when I saw them I thought they belonged in any room I was going to decorate for myself. When I decided to buy them last week, after agonizing over the decision to spend the money on chairs of all things, they effectively informed the desk decision. I had chairs and the desk had to match.
Enter desk one, acquired Saturday from a nice couple in Briarcliff Manor for the acceptable price of $150. A lovely secretary, it proved to be almost perfect when set up in the room. The one problem was monitor positioning. Meanwhile, devoted partner was angling to have us use it in the front hall (probably so he can avoid trying to make me a demilune in his garage workshop...). But I needed a desk, so it was set up in my room in the corner I had decided would be the desk corner. Then, on Sunday, we found a better desk for the space at $75 and devoted partner got his way: we're going to, I think, strip the secretary and refinish it for the hallway. I was notified yesterday that the chairs had arrived and I spent the early evening moving in the desk and setting it up.
Notice the lack of clutter.
Now, you may also notice how tightly I framed the shot - that's because the rest of the room looks like the aftermath of a tornado through a trailer park - but I can, at least, sit at my desk with the soapstone heart paperweight devoted partner made me, and the picture of me and Charlotte and...
Sure, I read the book, what over-literate teenage girl hasn't? But, I didn't think, in this day and age, its sentiment was as important. Was I so oppressed on a day to day basis that I needed my own room to refresh my very sanity? No. I don't. But what a luxury it is to have a chair you like, a desk you like, and a view you like: mine is of our front entry - not a person or car in sight. Even if I'm merely playing solitaire or reading The Onion, having this space feels good. And now that this small corner is spoken for, I'm appraising the rest of the room in a different way, wondering what should go on the walls, and what the eventual guest sleeping quarters should look like.
I like having a space. I think I understand why it was always important to devoted partner. It's not that I get to be away from him or he from me, it's that each of us can have a place of repose. Mundanely drinking my coffee in the morning can be my personal mundanity; watching the youtube video for Your Missus is a Nutter can, but doesn't have to be, a shared activity; and when there's no one in the house but me, I can unashamedly surround myself with my things and listen to George Michael loudly. So I may update this photo from time to time, as new things are added, and as the space takes shape. I just didn't think I would like it as much as I do.